by Artanza McGuire
(Decatur, GA) It was bright and early Saturday morning, when I arrived at New Birth Park. When I walked on the field I spotted Coach Chad Mascoe, one of the defensive coaches for the 9U Decatur Army team. A Florida native, Coach Mascoe was fully aware of Generation Nexxt, and gave me the run down on the key players to watch, #1 Chad Mascoe, #2 Logan Geter, #3 Jerry Epps, #7 Ashton Patterson, #8 Quinterio Lawson, and #15 Santana Walton. While Decatur Army’s 9U Head Coach Sean Walton was running drills with the team, I asked Coach Mascoe what his thoughts were going in to this game. He expressed that the Thouroughbreds were a good team, and that this is a big rival game. He knew that that the Thoroughbreds arrived early, and had plenty of time to warm-up and get loose, so they were ready. Coach Mascoe introduced me to 9U Team Mom Sheneake Geter, mother of #2 Logan Geter, and she shared that because it was Homecoming, the park was decorated with vendors with fun activities and tables of food, food, food. As I made my way to the other end zone to check in with the Thoroughbreds, I couldn’t help but smell the aroma of salmon croquettes, grits, and sausage that was being served for breakfast.
Coach Terry Beckham, 9U Head Coach and President of the Georgia Thoroughbreds, was getting his players ready for this much anticipated match-up. Coach Beckham told me that his boys were here to play some fundamental football against another quality team. He informed me that the players to keep my eye on were #2 Abubakar Diarrassouba (affectionately known as “Rah-Rah”), #4 Deonte Ingram, #5 Xavier Wright, #11 Treyshaun Chatman, and #44 Javair Tennell. Of course I had to speak with the Team Mom Jasmine Tennell. When I asked Mom Jasmine about the teams morning rituals, she directed me to her husband and Head Coach of the 10U Thoroughbreds, Coach Paul Tennell. Coach Tennell said that they start the morning off getting a good laugh from listening to the “Russ Parr Morning Show” and then they eat the famous pre-game breakfast, waffle, sausage and fruit of your choice. Since both teams apparently had been fed well, it was time to play some Georgia Xtreme League Football!
Decatur Army started the first half off with a touchdown by #8 Lawson followed by a successful 1-point conversion by QB #1 Mascoe, setting the score 7-0. Decatur Army
kicked off the ball and the Thoroughbreds’ offense began to move the chain down the field. On their 2nd down the Thoroughbreds fumbled the ball, yet recovered it. Then #2 Diarrassouba found some holes in the Army’s d-line and ran through to get another 1st down. After head referee, Mr. White Hat, called a three minute warning, a flag was called on the Thoroughbreds an
d they were penalized back to the 32 yard line, making it their 3rd down. It was now the 4th down and the Thoroughbreds were set to score, when #2 Diarrassouba broke through and scored the first Thoroughbred touchdown, setting the score 7-6. But would it be their last?
The Army responded with a powerful drive gaining another touchdown by #8 Lawson. Then QB #1 Mascoe, threw the ball to wide receiver #3 Epps, who completed the conversion, setting a new score of 14-6. Once again the Army kicked the ball off and the Thoroughbreds’ got their 1st down at the 19 yard line. They fumbled the ball on their 2nd down, but recovered it yet again. Then #11 Chatman got the ball and started on a good strong run to the end zone, on his way through the Army, #11 Chatman made the wrong turn and was greeted by Decatur’s defensive line. After readjusting from the Thoroughbred’s last play, Decatur’s #8 Lawson was able to read the next play a
nd responded with an explosive hit against #11 Chatman, forcing possession back to Decatur. With 1:27 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, QB #1 Mascoe made the 1st down with a 70 yard drive. Now 21 yards from the end zone, #1 Mascoe threw the ball again to wide receiver #3 Epps, who caught the ball, and ended the first half 20-6.
At halftime I went to talk to Coach Beckham. While I was waiting on the sidelines, I met the Football Director of the Georgia Thoroughbreds and 10U Coach Jeff Martin. He informed me that his son #50 Chandler Martin was gearing up to play in the next game which was the 10U match up against Decatur Army. Coach Beckham shared that it’s time for his boys to wake up, he needs them to “wrap up” and execute their plays.
What’s a Homecoming with the Homecoming court? Decatur Army crowned their 9U Homecoming King, #23 Parrish Gilbert, and Queen, Cheerleader Lauren Moore. I caught up with Decatur’s 10U Cheerleaders who had been cheering the entire game. They were decorated in their black and gold uniforms with their pink bows and pink knee socks.
The 3rd quarter was fully underway and although there was a lot of action, neither team was able to score. There was a unique moment towards the end of the quarter, where Thoroughbreds’ #50 Khalim Latimore made a dynamic hit but was still down for awhile after the play was over. I thought that it was a great thing not only to see the Thoroughbreds coaching staff running on the field, but the Army’s coaches were there as well helping to make sure that #50 Latimore was okay. The 4th quarter was similar to the 3rd until the last 2:15 seconds of the game, when Decatur Army made their final move of the game. Decatur’s QB #1 Mascoe threw a beautifully executed pass to #6 Devin White scoring the final touchdown of the game. After another complete conversion by #32 De’Nylon Morrissette, the 9U Decatur Army team finished the game with a 27-6 victory, making their new record 4-2.